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  • On Keystone, Congress Steps Up

    Whether he likes it or not, President Obama’s logic-defying but unsurprising decision to deny TransCanada the permit to construct a 1,700-mile long pipeline to deliver up to 830,000 barrels of oil per day from Alberta, Canada, to Gulf Coast refineries put the ball in Congress’s court—and some Members are seizing that opportunity.

    On January 24, Representative Ted Poe (R–TX) and 11 co-sponsors, including Representative Dan Boren (D–OK) introduced the Keystone For a Secure Tomorrow Act (K-FAST) that would approve TransCanada’s permit submitted to the Department of State (DOS) on September 19, 2008. Instead of ignoring the three years of environmental review DOS conducted—like President Obama did—this legislation would accept the finding that the project poses no significant environmental risk and would bring much-needed jobs, economic growth, and energy to our country.

    Poe’s bill would accept DOS’s environmental impact statement as sufficient to satisfy the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 and section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. No further environmental review would be necessary, nor should it. For three years with multiple comment periods, DOS studied and addressed risks to soil, wetlands, water resources, vegetation, fish, wildlife, and endangered species. It concluded that construction of the pipeline would pose minimal environmental risk. Keystone XL also met 57 specific pipeline safety standard requirements created by DOS and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA). Furthermore, the pipeline would be equipped with 16,000 sensors connected to a satellite that would monitor pressure.

    K-FAST would also satisfy Nebraskan residents and officials’ concerns with regard to the route of the pipeline by allowing Nebraska to find an alternative, acceptable route. Much of the concern of environmentalists and Nebraska residents has focused on the original route of the pipeline, particularly the area where the pipeline would cross the Ogallala Aquifer and the state’s Sand Hills region. Nebraska already has miles of natural gas, crude, refined products, and petrochemical pipelines crossing the state’s purportedly sensitive Ogallala Aquifer, specifically including pipelines in the Sand Hills region. In its exhaustive environmental review, DOS already studied the pipeline’s effects on soil and possible alternative routes to avoid the Sand Hills, along with countless other potential environmental risks.

    Even so, Nebraskan officials and residents voiced their concerns, and TransCanada agreed to re-route the pipeline. The process of rerouting the pipeline is already well underway and can be accomplished without additional federal environmental review. Last December, the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality released a detailed map of the Sand Hills region and conveyed the areas for TransCanada to avoid.

    Keystone is an environmentally safe, jobs-creating project that has broad support. President Obama dropped the ball in rejecting TransCanada’s permit application. If Congress acts, the ball would end up back in the President’s court, but it would certainly send a strong bipartisan message if it returns to him.

    Posted in Energy, Featured [slideshow_deploy]

    13 Responses to On Keystone, Congress Steps Up

    1. joseph hohmann says:

      Dear Congress, JUST DO IT!

    2. Jill Maine says:

      Just Do It is right.

    3. Lloyd Scallan says:

      The author still don't get it. Obama did not "drop the ball". Obama's rejection of the pipeline is directly connected to both his radical, leftist environmentalist supporters as well as his relentless attack on any and all fossils fuels that keep this nation' economy going.

    4. Greg Weigle says:

      The President must keep his anti-energy strategy alive, meaning if it isn't green, it's not viable. While he says the Constitution hasn't worked, polluting energy has only made the world a worse place. He doesn't believe that affordable energy has spurred the creative spirit of the American people and given everybody a much better life.

    5. Keith White says:

      Obama wants the price of gasoline and diesel to rise to make his "GREEN ENERGY" work. As long as oil and gas is low the price of alternative energy is too high and sheeple won't want it. If he can stop the Keystone Line and therefore keep the price of oil and gas high or make the price go higher then the high prices make sheeple want to switch to the GREEN stuff. They are predicting the price of gas going to $5.00 per gal or higher this summer, and that is Obamas goal. Remember his campain speaches of 2007 and 2008.
      We need the pipeline so we aren't as dependent on oil from the middle east and it is safer and cheaper to pipe the oil than load and haul it in tankers, and if Iran closes the Strait of Hormuz the pric of oil will as in Obamas words necessarily skyrocket we will see gasoline and diesel als skyrocket.
      WE NEED THE PIPELINE NOW!

    6. Ron says:

      It's about time the annointed one is shown that his anti American decisions can be over turned.

    7. Sandy Caruso says:

      It may pass the House but watch out for Obama's henchman in the senate…Reid. I doubt it will even come up for a vote.

    8. Nick, you’re correct that the Keystone XL pipeline has broad support. Just last week, Rasmussen released a poll showing that 56 percent of likely U.S. voters favor the pipeline, including 36 percent who strongly favor it. Just 12 percent strongly oppose. The majority of Americans want a strengthened energy partnership with Canada through greater use of that country’s oil sands resources – a resource that is central to an energy strategy that could see 100 percent of our liquid fuel needs met domestically and from Canada by 2024. Let’s hope Congress and President Obama take note.

      Mark, EnergyTomorrow.org

    9. Spiritof76 says:

      It will be DOA in the Senate or at the White House. No consequence for reckless behavior of the Congress, EPA, the White House.

    10. Steven says:

      BHO's rejection of the pipeline is less about the environmentalists' concerns or the union jobs for pipefitters, etc. Keep in mind who is BHO's newest best buddy… Warren Buffett. Guess who profits from the "NO" pipeline decision and guess who has recent, sustantial investments in the railroad business which will have to move the Canadian crude oil because there is no new pipeline? Railroads may represent a bigger demographic / lobby group than the environmentalists and pipefitters combined… Just a thought.

    11. Glenn Bergen says:

      Regarding this topic, I finally connected the dots on the XL pipeline. Several days ago on another blog, a writer described the chemical content of the crude oil from the tar sands, as heavy and high sulphur content. The XL Pipeline, when built, will transport the tar sands crude to Houston, which has refineries configured to process Venezuelan crude which is chemically similar. When Hugo Chavez stopped shipping Ven. crude to Houston; we had the only refineries capable of processing Ven. crude in the Western Hemisphere. So, Chavez offered his crude to the PRC. The PRC tankers ship it over to Asia, and then sell it to Vietnam, because the PRC doesn't want to deal with the problems.

    12. James says:

      The fact is if you are going to bake a cake you sometimes have to break some eggs. Sad as it seems, at least for the egg, but we are only humans and sometimes we make mistakes ie the gulgfspill. Granted the error there is because of profits. However if on this project, if thepenalties for such an event to occur are so harsh then the oil comapnies could not afford to have "on the cheap" creep into the design nor the support of the pipeline. Lets finally do something positive for our people so we can get the hell out of the middle east. Let them drown in their own problems.

    13. Lester Smith says:

      Congressman Poe,
      We need the Keystone Pipeline so keep at it.
      I watched some hearings you had on TV not long ago
      about the Keystone Pipeline.
      I am for the pipeline. We need the jobs and decrease in fuel price.

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